Florence Boos

Florence Boos
319 EPB
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
Victorian Literature, the Pre-Raphaelites, Working-Class Writing

Faculty page of teaching materials: http://victorianfboos.studio.uiowa.edu/

Florence S. Boos teaches Victorian poetry, nonfiction prose, and cultural studies at Iowa. Her teaching and research interests include poetry by women, working-class literature, Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, the life and work of William Morris, and nineteenth-century social, political and intellectual history, as well as Marxist and feminist approaches to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature.

The general editor of the William Morris Archive, she has published critical works on the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris; annotated critical editions of Morris’s The Earthly Paradise, The Socialist Diary, and The Life and Death of Jason; and more than a hundred and fifty articles, essays, introductions, and reviews. Her annotated anthology Working-Class Women Poets of Victorian Britain, a first attempt to identify the scope of these women’s lives and works, appeared in 2008, and her History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris, is forthcoming in 2015. She is currently writing a book on memoirs by Victorian working-class women.

A former president of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association and the William Morris Society in the United States, she also serves on the advisory boards of Victorian Poetry, The Journal of William Morris Studies, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, Cahiers Victoriens et Edwardiens, and the Archive of Working-Class Literature.

Over the years, she has taught a variety of

  • graduate courses in early and late-Victorian literature, as well as seminars in various fields of potential research, such as the Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes and Decadents, and Victorian and Edwardian Women Poets; and
  • undergraduate courses in (e.g.) Victorian Poetry and Fiction, Critical Theory, Literature of the American Midwest; African-American Literature, ‘Green’ Traditions in British and American Literature, and The Literature and Culture of Scotland.

She has also gathered together several generations of graduate students in reading groups to help prepare for their comprehensive examinations in Victorian literature, and has directed more than fifty dissertations. Her former students now teach at a wide range of institutions in several countries.

She has maintained ties with Iowa’s Women’s Studies Program, of which she was a founding member, and has served from time to time on university-wide committees which examined problems of inclusion as well as student and faculty welfare.

Eager to travel, she has participated in several teaching exchanges with the English departments of Háskoli Islands (the University of Iceland, in 1984), Københavns Universitet (the University of Copenhagen, in 1989), and the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier (in 1996, 2001, 2005 and 2007). She has always been fond of manuscript research, and whenever possible journeys to England and Scotland to give talks, visit friends, and burrow in archives and repository libraries. With Morris (an agnostic), she never saw a cathedral she didn’t like, and she shares Borges’s conjecture that heaven (if it existed) would be “a kind of library.”

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